Pursuit OCR is a huge indoor obstacle course and play zone. Located just north of Queen and Dufferin, this 10,000 square foot facility hosts two classroom spaces, a cryosauna , and of course, an indoor obstacle course consisting of 19 obstacles.
I visited Pursuit OCR on a Saturday during one of their open houses. From the outside, it doesn't look like much, but on the inside, the space is huge, decorated like an '80s community centre with art from local artists like Jeff Blackburn , Jerry Rugg and Wysper .
Half the space is devoted to the obstacle course while the other half houses the cryosauna and the class space, where classes on things like Prehabilitiation (injury preventation) and Bar Fit take place.
The class space is surrounded by the independent training area, filled with equipment like ropes, stall bars, a slack line, and best of all, two 11 and 14 feet high cove walls.
The cove walls look like something you'd see cool kids skateboarding on in a Mountain Dew commercial, but here, cool adults are actually running up the cove walls, hoisting themselves on to the lip of the wall and climbing back down on a nearby secured ladder.
I watched them nervously, talking myself into running up the smaller wall. "Don't worry", owner Wil McLean told me. "It's just physics and momentum". This made me more nervous, since the only thing I actually remember about physics is something about mass, and in this case, my mass would be working against me.
After a few tries and a few more tips, I actually reached the top of the smaller wall! I was surprised at how easy it was and how gratifying it was to finally get to the top.
After that small triumph, I decided was ready to conquer the beast and go through the dreaded and exciting obstacle course. The course is a mix of getting over or going under barriers, crawling through tunnels, climbing a tire wall, swinging from monkey bars, scaling a wall, and jumping into a ball pit, among other things.
To say that the course is challenging is an understatement. I am a "fit' person in the sense that once I took a yoga class and the instructor closed her eyes and sighed every time she came to my mat to adjust my downward dog. At three days post-course, my shoulders are still too sore to lift my arms up.
Even though it was challenging, the course was unbelievably exhilarating. Though there were moments where I terrified or reluctant or totally spent, all the activities were so much fun to complete and incredibly exciting when I finally completed them.
The best part of the obstacle course is that each obstacle had an out. If it's an activity that isn't comfortable for you or you didn't want to complete it, there is always a way to move on to the next obstacle without forcing you through something you aren't able to do.
This makes the course so much more accommodating for people who have limited abilities or only feel comfortable with selected activities.
The accommodation at Pursuit doesn't end with the course. All washrooms at the facility are wheelchair-friendly, and the change rooms, washrooms, and all equipment are non-gendered to welcome those of us who identify outside of the gender binary.
Pursuit OCR is also very community-minded. They partner with Get Real (an LGBTQ awareness and advocacy nonprofit) and the Canadian Safe Schools Network (an anti-bullying network) to supply the space for outreach.
Pursuit OCR is an incredibly fun way to get an insane workout. With its challenging equipment, exhilarating obstacle course, and inclusive environment, Pursuit is a Toronto must-do for everyone.
Packages at Pursuit OCR start at $20 (a one-day pass to just the obstacle course and the independent training areas) and go as high as $225 (30 days of unlimited use including classes). In addition to adult classes, Pursuit OCR also serves kids and teens at specific times.
Writing by Martha Stortz. Photos by Jesse Milns.